RUMFORD — While the proposed town municipal budget is up $172,062, the overall budget for Rumford is only $22,767 larger — less than 1 percent.

That’s because the town’s share of the Regional School Unit 10 and county budgets has gone down.

Finance Director Debbie Laurinaitis said the municipal budget recommended by both the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee is $7.70 million. Selectmen are also recommending $173,953 for initiated articles, down by $13,771 from last year.

The total proposed town budget is $14.97 million.

Town Manager John Madigan said the Finance Committee was unanimous on just about everything, including the extra $20,000 the selectmen voted to add to the Fire Department budget following concerns about a reduced level of service.

The issue was that after cuts in the Fire Department budget for the current fiscal year, the department had only two firefighters working out of the station one-third of the time, instead of the three firefighters the rest of the time.

The impact of that was noted as fire Chief Bob Chase said there were times that the lack of manpower meant a delayed response to structure fires as well as offering no EMS support when there were two firefighters on duty.

With three firefighters and a firefighter on duty in Mexico for mutual aid, Rumford has the four firefighters needed to enter a burning structure.

Chase said the additional $20,000 would fill 40 of the 24-hour shifts, estimating that then perhaps the two-man shifts would be reduced as low as 20 percent of the time instead on one-third of the time. Selectmen Frank Diconzo and Mark Belanger voted against the additional funding.

Regarding the selectmen and Finance Committee agreeing on the appropriations, Madigan said, “What that does is give people just a yes or no vote on everything instead of three choices because the recommendations are the same. In that way, you won’t get a situation where the minority of the people can kill something when the majority wants to fund it at some level. But they’ve lost their town meeting right to amend something if they don’t like the amount. They don’t have that right anymore because of the way we do it by referendum.”

There are also several ordinance amendments and several recommendations for charter revisions.

The business meeting, which takes place at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 1, in Muskie Auditorium at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, encompasses nine articles.

Articles at the meeting include authorizing selectmen to work out an agreement to lease portion of the land the town owns for a proposed zip line. Another will be to accept a 48-by-160-foot parcel of land donated by Ruth Thornton, adjacent to the Abbott Mills Cemetery, to allow for the expansion of the cemetery.

Article 7 asks voters if they wish to discontinue the Rumford Police Department and join with Mexico to contract police coverage with the Oxford County Sherrif’s Office.

Madigan said Mexico voters also will vote on a similar article.

“Both towns have to approve it because the proposal was to serve both towns,” he said. “There has not been a proposal, currently, to serve one town or the other. In summation, a ‘yes’ vote in both towns will eliminate both local police departments, with a contract for police services with the Oxford County for coverage by the Sheriff’s Department. A ‘no’ vote will continue police services by the local police departments.”

Madigan is also the town manager for Mexico.

There was a lot of concern with the article having to be voted on at the business meeting in public session rather than secret ballot because more people go to vote at the secret ballot than attend the business meeting.

Madigan said the town charter stated that the issues that could be decided at a secret ballot were limited to “election of officers, ordinance amendments or the annual budget appropriation.” But Madigan said there is a way around that.

“I found a section of the charter that says someone at the annual town business meeting can make a motion to refer a question to the secret ballot,” Madigan said. “If it’s approved, it would be up to the town clerk to make a paper ballot that would be presented at the polls.

“If somebody from the floor of the business meeting, says, ‘I move that we refer Article 7 to the secret poll meeting.’ If it then gets vote to do so, then the clerk would have to come up with a separate ballot for that question to be voted on that following Tuesday, June 9,” Madigan said.

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